Franklin won’t stop growing these days:
And recently, I can’t stop thinking about my own growing up. I thought the concept of “being a grown-up” disappeared after you graduated college and “grew up” into a “real adult.” Alas. I do still believe in growing up, but I’m not so sure it’s an end point anymore. Nonetheless, that doesn’t stop me from daydreaming about how I could speed my own growing up process along. I want Bryan and my next milestone in life to be accomplished so we can stop talking about it already.
We are in the middle of a time of so much change for everyone we know. We regularly hear about someone with a new baby, new house, European vacation, new dog, new graduate degree, and a crazy cross-country move. I find myself getting excited about the renewed purpose that can be found in change. I think life feels best when it moves forward at a brisk pace. And when I start daydreaming about that change I want, my gaze turns away from the present and into a nonexistent world.
As Bryan and I approach our two-year anniversary (!!), I can’t help but wonder if/when/how we should start planning for a baby, house, vacation, etc. Before I stop myself, I google home prices in the area – or daydream about baby names. Neither of these things is in our near future (believe me!), but comparison is the root of all evils and I can’t help but be anxious about the fact that we are not ready for a mortgage or a baby or a backpacking excursion across the ocean. How do I know this? I regularly check our bank account.
Actually, not really.
But, I’ve been surprised by this anxiety of wishing for the next stage of life to get here. I thought (naively, apparently), that once we graduated from college, that anxious thought of “what is next??” would wash away. All working people are in the same place in life, after all. I also naively thought that all I was waiting on was a dog to make me happy. I cannot argue that Franklin brings immeasurable joy and laughter, but he certainly does not make me feel like I’m truly “grown up.” If anything, he makes me more concerned about when we’ll have a house, and land, and more bedrooms to our name.
I have found a few things help with this longing to be settled and grown up.
It helps to be surrounded by people – to enjoy the company of friends. Staying alone for too long (as I am prone to do) leads to intense planning and comparison.
It helps to fill myself with gratitude for what I’m doing, seeing, feeling, hearing in the present moment (walking Franklin, watching Friends with Bryan, walking across to the library for the umpteenth time).
It helps to trust God as omniscient. It’s funny how that is a continual process. I’m pretty good at handing over plans only to snatch them back for “tweaking.”
I’m not very good at these things. I’m an introvert with stubbornness and sin. But I know these things help. And I know that striving to grow up quickly is something I’ll regret later. So I hold myself back. I take deep breaths and breaks with coffee. I think about the future but I don’t fantasize about it. I want to develop habits that are good and life-filling and take my gaze away from the unpredictable future.
I’m now certain that the concept of being “grown up” never goes away. One day, being grown up will mean being able to retire, and another day it’ll mean being in heaven.
Until then, I guess I’ll just be growing.